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Qatar: COVID-19 affects green campaigns but cannot stop

Coronavirus measures-related decline in CO2 is only temporary, cannot stop climate change, says Neeshad Shafi

Burak Bir   | 19.03.2020
Qatar: COVID-19 affects green campaigns but cannot stop


Environmental campaigns and workshops in Qatar have been disrupted over amid novel coronavirus outbreak, but climate activism in the Gulf state continues online.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency on the occasion of the effects of COVID-19 outbreak to environmental campaigns and climate change activism, Neeshad Shafi, the founder of the Arab Youth Climate Movement Qatar, said that, there is need for a drastic, systematic and community changes in Qatar as well since the virus has affected life in all means around the world.

"The outbreak did halt all our campaigns and collaborative initiatives around climate change advocacy, policy workshops, Earth Talks series and other offline campaigns like Ambassadors of Environment Qatar initiative," he said.

He added that Earth Hour event in Qatar, which has been celebrated annually on March 28 since it started as a symbolic "lights-out" event in Sydney in 2007, was also suspended due to coronavirus, following advice from authorities.

"COVID-19 still can’t stop our upcoming campaigns which now we are already doing it online with engaging social media posts and questions," he mentioned, adding massive online campaigns to take place until the end of the month.

Stating the urgent responses of media attention to coronavirus outbreak, he stressed that, climate change also needs as much attention as coronavirus: "We need the communications of the climate crisis to match the urgency as we have seen with the coronavirus, we, the people, will respond accordingly."

Touching on the decline in CO2 emissions around the world due to the restriction of travel, production, and transport to combat coronavirus, he mentioned that, that kind of measures leads to only temporary result which cannot stop climate change in the long term.

"The longer-term impact of this crisis on emissions depends on how policymakers and governments respond to this crisis," he added.

Founded in 2015, Arab Youth Climate Movement Qatar, which is the first and only registered youth lead environmental NGO in the country, aims to build a generation-wide movement to understand, contemplate and reflect the essence of nature and its attributes.

So far, 452 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Qatar which has the highest number of cases in the Arab Gulf region.

Since first being detected in Wuhan, China in December, the novel coronavirus has claimed 8,939 lives globally, most in China, according to global data maintained by Johns Hopkins University (JHU).

At least 219,042 cases of the virus have been confirmed in at least 158 countries and territories, with Europe as the new epicenter of the pandemic, according to the World Health Organization.

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